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  1. #1
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    Haleakala: road climb, dirt descent...Anyone done this?

    Ever since my last trip to Maui, I've been wanting to do this ride. Climb up the volcano from Paia on a road bike and then have my wife meet me at the top to switch bikes for a descent down Skyline Trail to Poli Poli (?) Park. Has anyone here ever done this? I've done the climb, but opted out of descending the road, getting a ride down instead. It's a big ride for sure, and one that makes my palms sweat with nervous excitement. Just wondering if anyone's had the experience, and what it was like. I'll be back in November and figured I'd play it by ear. If I felt strong enough, I'd go for it. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Yes, but the park rangers I have run into have looked down on this. They don't believe that we would stay on the road and not detour to the trails.

    I THINK? the skyline road is off limits now. Haven't been up there in years.
    There....Are... Four...Lights!

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    When I was in Maui we took a shuttle bus up and rode down the road. No one ever mentioned an off road option, and when I inquired at a bike shop the response I got was simply "Maui doesn't have much off road riding". Maybe they try not to let the tourists in on the good trails, or they really don't have them.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve
    When I was in Maui we took a shuttle bus up and rode down the road. No one ever mentioned an off road option, and when I inquired at a bike shop the response I got was simply "Maui doesn't have much off road riding". Maybe they try not to let the tourists in on the good trails, or they really don't have them.

    They didnt want you to get in trouble. Nice forest ride if you stay on the unpaved road. But too often people ride the hunter or hiking trails and ....
    There....Are... Four...Lights!

  5. #5
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    I'm sure it's been done and there is nothing to worry about. The National Park will even let you into the park without paying the fee if you are using the road to access Skyline trail.

    All the trails within Poli Poli/Kula Forest Reserve are open to mountain bikes except one, Ridge Trail. They are not exclusively hunting and hiking trails, in fact many were built by mountain bikers and the others are old motorcycle trails.

    As for the road downhill tours comments, it is best that they don't promote the trail route down as they have been kicked off the mountain anyway for safety reasons and must now start there tours at 7000 feet instead of 10,000. And the shop you went to is the wrong shop.

  6. #6
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    I read that too, Airwreck, about the fee waiver if just riding through, but couldn't rely on that info. I'm guessing the last thing I want to do after climbing 10K' is negotiate some sketchy singletrack. I just need to get down alive! Thanks for the solid info. I'll be in Kauai the week prior, so I'll need to get some good dirt riding there as well.

  7. #7
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    Just stay on the main trail and it'll be easy.No single track.There is less pedaling if you go down the Mamane trail.It's rough but worth it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by K-max
    I read that too, Airwreck, about the fee waiver if just riding through, but couldn't rely on that info. I'm guessing the last thing I want to do after climbing 10K' is negotiate some sketchy singletrack. I just need to get down alive! Thanks for the solid info. I'll be in Kauai the week prior, so I'll need to get some good dirt riding there as well.
    Talk Airwreck into taking you on the ladders & "pig trails" in/near Poli Poli


  9. #9
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    ha, how old is that photo? don't think that one is looking too good anymore, but I haven't been there in long time.

    Nobody likes the pig trail, nowadays it's all about the poodle trail

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by airwreck
    ha, how old is that photo? don't think that one is looking too good anymore, but I haven't been there in long time.

    Nobody likes the pig trail, nowadays it's all about the poodle trail
    The ladder trail is waaaay sketchy. I hit it in the last couple of months (when I left early that day EBX was here, Airwreck) and bypassed ALL the features. Half the rungs on that ladder bridge are gone as are the parts to just about everything else. What's still there is s-k-e-t-c-h-y looking.

  11. #11
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    Yea Twice except that I just did the whole thing on my mtn bike, did the road thing up/down many times. Skyline was open when I did it (last time 1 year ago) and also remember Natonal Park land is our land, not some tool ranger. Have fun its a great ride!

  12. #12
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    I can't say "well, do it!" enough, some of the best -epic-descents are off the top of the Islands. I helped put in Mamane trail with Na Ala Hele. We were driven up w lunch, to trail hew for a short few, ride back down (they brought up our bikes in the back of trucks- never had so much fun). For me it was all backcountry to kihei Beach!

    What a blast. Skyline sounds off limits to Poli-Poli S.Park. Don't give up.
    After the Park, take the animal cuts between asphalt switchbacks- then free form the lower grass fields where the hangliders take-off.

    I am already "off" public property, so I just continue cross cow lowlands/gates best I can. Suggest calling it at the highway- or not!






    .

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandsalmon
    I can't say "well, do it!" enough, some of the best -epic-descents are off the top of the Islands. I helped put in Mamane trail with Na Ala Hele. We were driven up w lunch, to trail hew for a short few, ride back down (they brought up our bikes in the back of trucks- never had so much fun). For me it was all backcountry to kihei Beach!

    What a blast. Skyline sounds off limits to Poli-Poli S.Park. Don't give up.
    After the Park, take the animal cuts between asphalt switchbacks- then free form the lower grass fields where the hangliders take-off.

    I am already "off" public property, so I just continue cross cow lowlands/gates best I can. Suggest calling it at the highway- or not!






    .
    No, Skyline is not off limits to bikes.

  14. #14
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    I just got back from Maui. I rented a Heckler from Paul at Crater Cycles in Kuhului. Good guy with nice shop and selection of rentals. He knows the trails too. I had my wife shuttle me to the top of Haleakala. I took Skyline trail down to Mamane. Mamane dumped me onto a fire road. I took a right on that and it turned to pavement after a mile or so. Paul gave me a map (hand drawn). Real fun ride. Skyline was a fire road and was like riding on the moon. Pretty loose volcanic crumbles (like really coarse decomposed granite). It took a mile or so to get the feel of it. The locals really bomb this trail. Mamane was more my kind of trail. Singletrack with some fun root crossing sections and drops. That was about a 2-3 mile trail. I came across a trail junction on the fire road that Mamane dumped me onto that looked like more sweet singletrack, but I didn't have a map of that. Boundary trail was the name of one of the trails. I think that would've taken me to Poli Poli if memory serves correct. Next time I'm in Maui, I'm gonna do the same ride as this one, but I will take Boundary trail singletrack descent.

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    I guess I must be more old school than many people? I remember watching a segment of Hawaiian Moving Company back in the 90s where they filmed "Race to the sun" bike race. Time trail on road bike up to the top of the volcano, decent time trial on MTB down the trails. Best overall time wins. I think is usually Ray Burst that takes it all.

    Kmax, go to Norco Bikes website. They have videos of pros riding Maui's trails.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll
    I guess I must be more old school than many people? I remember watching a segment of Hawaiian Moving Company back in the 90s where they filmed "Race to the sun" bike race. Time trail on road bike up to the top of the volcano, decent time trial on MTB down the trails. Best overall time wins. I think is usually Ray Burst that takes it all.

    Kmax, go to Norco Bikes website. They have videos of pros riding Maui's trails.
    Raik Huster won the Cycle to the Sun this year (last weekend). Ray Brust finished out of the top 3.

  17. #17
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    [Edit - damn I always reply to the wrong message on these threads. This is supposed to be in reply to the questions about riding down Skyline, not about the road race]

    I just thought I'd bump this as I found the info on this site helpful. I did essentially what mdavenpo2000 did. I just went last week. I got a full on downhill rig from Crater Cycles. That's just what he gave me, not sure if there was anything else, but since I was renting and never rode a downhill rig before I thought it would be fun. His hand drawn maps can be found on the Crater Cycles website as well.

    His recommended route is Skyline to Mamane to Waipoli Rd. down to a park at around 3500ft. The local riders have cut some trail in between the S's along Waipoli Rd that are kind of fun. I would say the ride is well worth doing, though the trails themselves are certainly nothing better than what you can find all over Colorado where I live. Starting up above the clouds at the top of Haleakala with views of the Big Island were awesome though and it was fun to descend into the clouds and ultimately a cool way to explore a side of the island. Following this route was super easy. The only thing I think you could mess up would be missing the Mamane turnoff if you were too busy flying down the road or looking at the views. However, it's very well labeled and comes just after a slight uphill - it's hard to miss.

    For any competent mountain biker these trails are no big deal and the full face + pads + full suspension downhill bike I was given with the rental was a bit overkill, though you could certainly utilize the downhill bike to haul ass if you wanted to. The ride took me about 2 hrs with a lot of screwing around and taking pictures and such. It could have easily been done in an hour. A beginner might find the loose rock on Skyline and single track on Mamane a bit unnerving.

    After you finish the Mamane trail there are some trails off to your left. The owner at Crater Cycles warned me not to go down there and told me some story about guys walking their bikes for 8 hours. He also warned against taking the Waikoa loop which you will see further down the Waipoli Rd saying it was really dusty and a super long climb. I'm not entirely convinced either of these warnings is valid, but since the bike I had was a real bear to pedal uphill, I skipped them. I think if I were to do this again I would try to rent an all mountain or x-country bike and at least explore the Waikoa loop if not some of the other trail around there.

    Btw, the road ride up looked cool. It was long but there were not any obscenely steep sections. Just doing the road ride down looked lame. I can't believe they have "tours" down the road. I mean come on, it's a f-ckin road, why do you need a tour guide?

    In conclusion, this downhill ride is well worth doing and I'm glad I did it, but if you were to go to Maui and skip it, I don't think that would be a big deal either as there are lots of fun things to explore on the island.

  18. #18
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    Glad my review of this ride helped get you dialed in with Crater Cycles. Great experience riding down Haleakala, but as you pointed out not too challenging for an experienced mountain biker.

    If I go back to Maui, it wont be at the top of my list but I'd consider riding it again. I avoided the trails at the bottom of Mamane, but if I do go back I'd like to check those out. Preferably on a sub 30 lb bike though.

  19. #19
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by S_Trek View Post
    Yes, but the park rangers I have run into have looked down on this. They don't believe that we would stay on the road and not detour to the trails.

    I THINK? the skyline road is off limits now. Haven't been up there in years.
    I have asked ranger at the entrance last year, and he told me it is perfectly fine to go down Skyline. So I did.

    Haleakala: road climb, dirt descent...Anyone done this?-i-nkqkrkj-l.jpg

    Some nice singletrack down in Polipoli. Long day in the saddle, about 90 miles I guess, sea to the top and back from the backside. 29r hardtail worked great.

  20. #20
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    Heading over there soon, this years plan is the big stone, down skyline and maybe around the corner to Hana and back home. There has got to be trail to get from skyline to the beach. Didn't they stick some windmills back there? Any trails?

  21. #21
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    There are some windmills on the back side of Haleakala, but they're a looong way from the base of Skyline (Waipoli Road) and they're below Piilani Highway and a long way from Hana. If you want to get to Hana via Skyline from the summit you've got a long road slog ahead of you from Keokea to Hana.

  22. #22
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    I got a week to pull this off so I have the time. Can skyline and keokea connect via dirt? What I would like to avoid is the Waipoli road.
    Yea its long but i'll be on my Epic 29er, Plus I'll stop for the night at the NP and then again at that state campground 15 miles or so after Hana. Then back to Lanai, maybe stopping at Olowalu
    Last edited by Stumpjumper808; 05-05-2013 at 07:56 PM.

  23. #23
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    You can connect that via dirt, but not w/o going through private property. Wainapanapa is the state park/campground after Hana, but it's closer than 15 miles.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumper808 View Post
    I got a week to pull this off so I have the time. Can skyline and keokea connect via dirt? What I would like to avoid is the Waipoli road.
    Yea its long but i'll be on my Epic 29er, Plus I'll stop for the night at the NP and then again at that state campground 15 miles or so after Hana. Then back to Lanai, maybe stopping at Olowalu
    For bypassing Waipoli on the way down Skyline you can try asking Oprah Winfrey for permission to ride through her ranch, never know, apparently she is very generous. There are routes used by dirt bikers and hunters that drop down through the ranch private property. Maybe with the right approach the National Park could allow riders down the Kaupo trail, they do allow commercial horse tours so why not allow guided bike tours as well? Otherwise the legal route would be down Wailpoli, and then down the highway to Kaupo, not trails but still a good ride.

    Are you starting and finishing in Lahaina? Supported or carrying your own gear? Camping options on the Lahaina up Haleakala leg include, Kanaha beach park, Rainbow park up from Paia, Hosmers grove just inside the park boundary. On the way down you can camp in Poli Poli Springs Park, Kaupo out on the point, Kipahulu campground before Hana, Wainapanapa just past Hana, Keanae YMCA (15 miles past Hana).

    Would be good to have some flexibility and take your time, would hate to be on a overly ambitious schedule for this one, but then again there are plenty of people who ride around the island in one day no big deal.

    Keep us posted, definitely epic.

  25. #25
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by airwreck View Post
    Maybe with the right approach the National Park could allow riders down the Kaupo trail, they do allow commercial horse tours so why not allow guided bike tours as well?
    I was thinking about quickly bombing through crater and Kaupo gap - it seems to me that bike would have little impact.. but decided against it, as crater is wide open for rangers to spot me. Of course "little impact" from one of the few masochists who just biked all the way up the volcano would be quite a bit different if commercial tours start shuttling people.

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